- "Well, I always try to cast in my films the best actor that seems to fit the character best. I think the qualities that Sean Patrick Flanery had is that he seemed very young and youthful and enthusiastic, and with a little hint of naiveté and innocence that I thought would be appropriate for Indiana Jones at that age."
- ―George Lucas[src]
Sean Patrick Flanery (born October 11, 1965) is an actor who played Indiana Jones between the ages of 16 and 21 in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, appearing onscreen as the character more than anyone else in the role (including originator Harrison Ford).
Before being cast, Flanery did not have a passport and had never been overseas, nor had he done a screentest prior to the one recorded on March 11, 1991 as part of his audition process using six scenes from "German East Africa, December 1916." To prepare for the role, Vic Armstrong trained Flanery to use a bullwhip and lasso and taught him how to mount a horse in midstride, while producer Rick McCallum gave him multiple copies of the first three films in the franchise so he could learn Harrison Ford's mannerisms.
Flanery viewed Indy's personality at this stage in life as being the polar opposite of his own:
- Indy tends to get wrapped up and so focussed on one thing. A lot of the extraneous circumstances get blurred and he gets himself trapped a lot of times. He's a very forgiving guy. He doesn't look at the whole scope and picture of things and it gets him in trouble. And then he has to use his cunning and resourcefulness to get out of it. He's very naive and you can tell he's learning.
During the original run of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles on ABC, Flanery worked on Young Indiana Jones and the Curse of the Jackal and three other TV movies (Young Indiana Jones and the Mystery of the Blues, Young Indiana Jones and the Scandal of 1920, and Young Indiana Jones and the Phantom Train of Doom) along with eighteen hour-long episodes. All of these were filmed in two production series, the first between May 1991 and March 1992 (during which Steven Spielberg "dropped by" the production in Prague and provided some feedback to Flanery) and the second between May 1992 and April 1993, though three of Flanery's hour-long episodes ("Prague, August 1917," "Palestine, October 1917," and "Transylvania, January 1918") went unaired in the United States before the show was cancelled by ABC.
While Flanery has mentioned individual episodes from this period as favourites, including "Verdun, September 1916," "German East Africa, December 1916" and "Congo, January 1917" (despite the difficulties of filming in remote African locations), and "Somme, Early August 1916," the isolation of not having anyone in his age range around at the time proved to be a constant challenge.
In 1994, Flanery returned to the role for three additional TV movies on The Family Channel (Young Indiana Jones and the Hollywood Follies, Young Indiana Jones and the Treasure of the Peacock's Eye, and Young Indiana Jones and the Attack of the Hawkmen) originally intended as six episodes for a third season of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles as well as the bookend segments for Young Indiana Jones: Travels with Father, in which Indy recalled earlier adventures with his father as depicted in segments featuring Corey Carrier.
Flanery again reprised the role in 1995 and 1996 for The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones. Along with appearing in the "Morocco, September 1917" segment of Tales of Innocence, Flanery expanded upon the bookend segments from Young Indiana Jones: Travels with Father to form the "Princeton, June 1919" segment of Winds of Change and filmed additional scenes as "bridging" footage linking episodes previously bookended by segments featuring George Hall as Old Indy into the following new edits:
- Spring Break Adventure
- Love's Sweet Song
- Trenches of Hell
- Demons of Deception
- Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life
- Adventures in the Secret Service
- Espionage Escapades
- Masks of Evil
Looking back on the entire experience with hindsight, Flanery was frustrated by the sometimes drastic differences in tone between episodes depending on their directors:
- They had the same main character, Indiana Jones, but some directors had me do completely different line readings. I would be like, "That's not the character. That's this absurd farce." We had producers on the set who had to rein in the directors, because each director had their own specific ideas.
Nevertheless, he singled out praise for directors Bille August, René Manzor, Mike Newell, and Simon Wincer as people he "would love to work with in their own environment" and expressed gratitude towards George Lucas for opening doors in his career and providing him with "six years of film school."
Beyond The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Flanery is best known for playing Connor MacManus in The Boondock Saints and its sequel The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. His other feature film credits include Powder (in the title role), Suicide Kings, Simply Irresistible, D-Tox, Kiss the Bride (with Brooke Langton), and Saw 3D: The Final Chapter. Flanery's television appearances include recurring roles as Greg Stillson on The Dead Zone, Sam Gibson on The Young and the Restless, and Jacob Elway on Dexter, as well as guest roles on The Outer Limits, Stargate SG-1, Charmed, The Twilight Zone, and Masters of Horror.
Flanery also released the solo album Johnson Was a Snowball Who Loved the Beach in 1993 and published the novel Jane Two in 2016.
Notes and references
- The date is visible on a clapboard in the clip shown during The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: A Look Inside.
- The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: A Look Inside
- Young Indy: Around the World
- Mir, Jawad. "Sean Patrick Flanery Interview." TheRaider.net (October 26, 2007).
- Young Indy Filming Timeline
- Spelling, Ian. "Major Adventurer." Starlog #255 (October 1998), pp. 64-66.